Friday, May 25, 2012

Week 2 and 3: We Hit a Snag

Week 2 brought a snag. Our homeschool has had growing pains ever since I've added a second student. We are still working out the kinks but I have to work hard to keep character issues pruned and weeded.

We weren't quite as productive as we have been school wise. It took us a full two weeks of working to get done what I planned for week 2. But that is okay. I often tell just starting out homeschoolers that the character issues wouldn't disappear by sending their children to public school. They would still be there and instead you would get notes home or be blindsided in a parent/teacher conference. At least this way, I can nip them in the bud.

Oh how my view has changed from when we first started homeschooling! We first started homeschooling due a bullying issue in Lainey's kindergarten classroom and the school's inability to keep my 5 year old safe. Sad but true. I wasn't willing to let my child be sacrificed and after prayer, Brandon and I both decided to homeschool Lainey.

Homeschooling was more public school at home then. A means to an end, if you will, because we could not afford private school tuition and didn't have the money to break our lease for her to be in a different school zone. Now Brandon and I see it as the opportunity to pour into our children throughout their whole day-- an opportunity to share our faith and why we believe what we believe, build character AND teach academics. This view occasionally feels overwhelming, but then I wonder how overwhelmed I would feel if I only had a few short hours every day to share our faith, build character and do homework. That seems much more overwhelming when I put it in perspective.

Anyway, on to what we got done..


Math: We completed Chapter 1 and Lainey took the Chapter test. We are still working on paying attention to what the problem is asking her to do. Sometimes she gets in a rush and adds when it is asking her to subtract or vice versa. We started Chapter 2.

Grammar: We worked on verb phrases. We had to stop and have a refresher on helping verbs. I'm simply going to require Lainey to memorize them. This is the song that we are going to use:

Helping Verb Song to Jingle Bells Tune

Social Studies: Lainey did all of the corrections from Lesson 1-3, completed her review and did Quiz #1. She did EXCELLENT on this quiz. We do need to work a little harder on spelling continents and oceans properly for the mapping portion of her quizzes. (Next week her handwriting review will be continent names. Sneaky, sneaky, mama!) We also did lesson 5 and 6. This geography program remains one of her favorites!

Science: She is studying biomes so she read extensively about grasslands and different types of forests like temperate forests and rainforests.

Reading: Lainey completed Detectives in Togas and read Little House in the Big Woods. Her reading speed is picking up dramatically.
Goals for this coming week are:

To get our work done in a timely manner while not sacrificing accuracy.
To start our formal Bible curriculum as a family.
To have a positive attitude.

Julianne and I are still trudging through her workbooks. She continues to fly through her phonics work and math workbooks and loves being read to. This coming week, I'm going to pick up an easy reader and see if I can trick her into reading aloud for me. I know she can do it because she is sounding out words, but I think she gets intimidated by a whole book. Maybe we'll alternate every other page. :)


PS: I linked this post to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for their Weekly Wrap Up. I love reading there to see what other homeschoolers are doing in their schools!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Week 1: The Beginning

(Better late than never right? I went back and completed a summary for week 1...)

This week we got off to a great start!!!

Lainey did so well with her assignment sheet. I admit I cringed a little when another mom suggested I let her decide how to get things done, but it really seems to be working!

At first, Lainey was a little confused. "You mean I can do ALL my reading in one day?" Yes. "Really!?" Yes.

And so she did.

Some days she felt like doing the entire week's worth of a certain subject. Other times she rotated. Either way, the work was getting done and we weren't butting heads.


Grammar: Lainey refreshed her memory of alphabetical order, sentences vs. fragments and helping verbs. We are using Rod and Staff English 4: Building Diligence, but I also bought the worksheet packet for the level 3 work too. We used level 2 last year and flew through it. Everyone had warned us it was "ahead" of grade level and since she hadn't had a formal grammar program that we should go a level below her grade, so we did. But she flew through, so we skipped the 3rd level and moved to 4. I think she will do fine.

Reading: Lainey is reading Detectives in Togas. She loves mystery books.

Social Studies: We are using Christian Light Education's Social Studies 4. It focuses heavily on geography and Lainey loves it. One night she was at her desk in her pajamas at 8pm, reading her geography book. She enjoyed her mapping exercises as well.

Science: She learned about resources, recycling and pollution. We also used some library books and DVDs that went along with our themes.

Math: Lainey is doing a review section.

Other: I assigned a review of cursive.

Julianne is still working mostly side by side with Mama. We did the letters O and P and completed phonics worksheets for those. One afternoon, she did FIVE math workbook pages and FIVE handwriting pages. I've not finished making my plans for the 2012-2013 school year because we are still finishing some of her books from this past school year. She is making steady progress though and only has issues settling down every now and then. *smile*

Julianne continues to love to be read to. In fact, Lainey read her science library books aloud and shortly after a crowd gathered. LOVE that!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Here We Go!

I reserved this blog name quite some time ago, but never got around to posting because things were crazier than I expected adding a second student to our homeschooling table with two boys 2 and under.

I've spent the last couple weeks preparing for our new homeschooling year. We are year round homeschoolers and are starting again this month. We will cut back to just reading and math at the end of my pregnancy and when Isaiah arrives and take breaks throughout the year.

We've decided that we prefer to take our breaks during non-traditional weeks to take advantage of discounted vacation prices and lower crowds. We also prefer to have many shorter breaks instead of one long break. We spend much less time reviewing concepts to get started again and it always feels like a break is right around the corner.

This year I've changed a few things. Lainey will be starting 4th grade and we are taking steps to more independence. She will recieve a weekly assignment sheet and have some check points throughout the week for accountability. If her work isn't done by the final checkpoint of the week (on Friday) then she will give up free time to complete her work. We are hoping to improve her time management skills and to prevent some battles by giving her control over choosing how to attack her week.

Julianne is still mostly dependent on me for directions and reassurance that she is headed the right direction. She is starting to read, but I find that most of her school work is done right by my side still and that is okay and developmentally appropriate. As her reading skills get better, she will naturally move into becoming more independent.

Another big change this coming year, is that we are leaving literature based unit studies. We loved Heart of Dakota, but I was teaching two different levels and it was crazy this past year with the little tornados.. I mean boys.

Lainey has specifically asked to go back to worktexts and workbooks. She says that she never could really see the end of a unit study assignment and prefers to be told to do pg. 35 #1-20 or whatever. She is my concrete thinker and so I see her point. We are hoping that moving to texts/workbooks simplifies some things because this fall we will have 3 boys, 3 and under. We are definately moving into a different type of season and so while texts/workbooks aren't *my* ideal style of learning, after many, many hours of prayer we are going this direction. A major plus for homeschooling is the ability to individualize learning. While I prefer to learn differently, homeschooling is about my students. *smile*

But have no fear, we are still pretty eclectic in our choices but I think I've pieced together a workable plan.

This past week, we went to the library in our new county. Our girls enjoy going to the library often and being allowed to have your own library card is a huge deal in our family. Lainey had one in our old county, but Julianne wasn't reading yet, so we held off on getting her one.

When we went to the new library, we allowed Julianne to get her own card. We also had Lainey fill out her own library card application-- in pen. She says that she felt quite grown up.

Daddy filled out Julianne's but we had her write her name and then write her name at the bottom and answer questions that Daddy filled in for her. Then both girls signed the back of their cards.

Daddy took some pictures of the process:

(Yes, both of the girls are left handed... interestingly, my boys appear to be right handed.)

Even the boys enjoyed going to the library! I'll be updating the tabs along the top of the blog as well. I plan to post at least once a week but I'm aiming for two times a week. Probably Sunday or Monday and then Friday or Saturday. (A post about the weekly plan and then a post summarizing what we did.)